What is the Treadmill Test?
March 26, 2015
The Treadmill Test Determines Life Expectancy over the next 10 yrs
The “treadmill test” is a new algorithim developed by Johns Hopkins cardiologists that is designed to estimate one’s risk of dying over a decade based on a person’s ability to exercise on a treadmill at an increasing speed and incline. The formula called “FIT Treadmill Score” guages long-term death risk in anyone based solely on treadmill exercise performance. The score could yield valuable clues about a person’s health and should be calcuated for the millions of patients who undergo testing in the United States each year.
Exercise stress tests — commonly used to determine who needs invasive cardiac testing and inform treatment decisions — measure how well the heart and lungs respond to physical exertion while a person is walking on a treadmill at progressively higher speed and elevation. The test is stopped once a person reaches the point of exhaustion or develops chest pain, dizziness or heart rhythm abnormalities. Those who have abnormal findings on their EKG tracings during exercise or who develop symptoms suggestive of abnormal heart strain during the test are referred for angiography, an invasive procedure to examine the interior of the heart’s main blood vessels. Those who have normal EKG readings and no alarming symptoms while exercising are said to have “normal” results and typically do not require further testing.
However, the researchers say, the new data show varying degrees of fitness among those with “normal” stress test results that reveal telling clues about cardiac and respiratory fitness and, therefore, overall death risk over time.
“Stress test results are currently interpreted as ‘either/or’ but we know that heart disease is a spectrum disorder,” Ahmed says. “We believe that our FIT score reflects the complex nature of cardiovascular health and can offer important insights to both clinicians and patients.”